This team is lifeless.
Simply put, there is absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel for this team, except for maybe Andrew Luck.
This loss was different simply because it happened at home. Sure, the Colts have been blown out a couple of times already this year, but those were on the road. They lost big at Houston and at New Orleans. The team has never lost like this at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The effort on both sides of the ball wasn't there against the Falcons. It was almost as if the team was defeated before the game even started.
Maybe the team wants Luck. Maybe the players really are putting forward their best effort (highly doubtful). Or maybe these players simply don't care anymore.
Who knows? It could be all three.
As embarrassing as the loss on Sunday Night Football to the Saints was, this loss feels even worse because it was on the Colts' turf.
So much for "Defend this House" today.
Here are five brutal lessons the Colts learned from their ninth straight loss.
I have defended Jim Caldwell as recently as this past week. But now I'm sold. It's time for him to go.
He's lost this team.
After a first half performance like that, a coach should have gone into the locker room and fired up the troops, drawn some new plays up and motivated his team to go play harder in the second half.
Instead, the team looked even more zombie like than the first half.
If players aren't executing, it's the players' fault. If players aren't playing hard, to me, that's the coach's fault. It is a coach's job to maximize effort from each and every player.
I'm not sure a single player gave maximum effort against the Falcons.
That means Caldwell has lost this team.
The Colts only had one sack against the Falcons, and it came from linebacker Phillip Wheeler.
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were almost invisible for what feels like the first time ever in a home game.
Freeney recorded one tackle and one quarterback hit, while Mathis tallied four tackles. The Colts as a team only collected two total quarterback hits: Wheeler's sack and Freeney's QB hit. That's it.
There were a few instances when Matt Ryan was pressured, but not the kind of pressure fans have come to expect from the bookends.
There were no big third downs where Freeney came roaring out of his stance and Ryan trembled in fear. There were no plays where Mathis chased Ryan out of the pocket and brought him down from behind. There were no strip sacks.
It just wasn't the kind of performance fans are use to from Freeney and Mathis. It's unclear whether they lacked motivation, support from fans or whether they were just blocked well.
Whatever it was, it needs to be fixed by next week when the Colts play the Jaguars at home. Their rush is a monumental part of the defense.
This is killing Peyton Manning.
It has to hurt him more than anyone else to watch the offense that he has engineered over the years fail so miserably now that he isn't under center to operate it.
Curtis Painter failed to even eclipse the century mark through the air. He was benched late in favor of Dan Orlovsky. Combined, the two quarterbacks produced just 103 passing yards after subtracting yards from sacks.
Coming into the game, the Falcons had been surrendering an average of 265 yards through the air. Obviously, the Colts weren't able to capitalize on that.
The ground game wasn't any better, producing just 83 yards. Another sub-par performance as the team had averaged just over 100 yards rushing coming into the game.
Together, the Colts managed to tally a measly 186 yards. Atlanta's Julio Jones had 164 total yards by himself.
Something has to be done with this offense. To continually go three-and-out is just unacceptable. Even if the defense had turned in a better performance, this excuse for an offense gave the team absolutely no chance of winning.
It's tough to decide who was worse, the offense or the defense.
I'll say the defense slightly outperformed the offense, just because they actually managed to show some heart and fight. The offense never showed any of that. And the defense actually scored, which is more than the offense can say.
Nonetheless, the defense was far from stellar yet again. Julio Jones simply owned the defense. His first touchdown catch was well defended, he just made a stellar play. His second touchdown grab, however, illustrated just how porous this defense is.
Jones caught an eight-yard slant pass and took it 80 yards for a touchdown. No Colts defender even had a chance at him.
That can't happen. Eighty-yard touchdowns can't be that easy. And they can't come off of slant plays.
Oh, and Jones still wasn't done. He also managed to gain 33 rushing yards on two carries. Delone Carter, the Colts starting running back, only managed eight yards on four carries.
Jerraud Powers' pick six was a bright spot, but other than that, the defense never did anything really great. Matt Ryan continued to pick the defense apart, and was almost 50 percent on third-down conversions.
Why is Joe Lefeged still allowed to return kickoffs?
He continues to fail to make it to the 20-yard line when he fields it in the end zone. Against the Falcons, he didn't even record a 20-yard return.
Lefeged had three returns for a total of 45 yards. For all non-math majors, that's 15 yards per return. He had a long of 19 yards.
That's not getting it done.
He needs to learn how to either take a knee in the end zone, or let someone else return kicks who is willing to take a knee or at least get the ball out to the 20.
Putting Curtis Painter in bad position to start a drive is not the way this team can operate. The Colts need someone to actually give the mediocre field position. That would be a step up from what Lefeged is giving them right now.